Esther Attean & Denise Altvater : Heroes for truth, justice, equality & healing

Deeply inspired by the bravery, strength, vision and dedication of these righteous Passamaquoddy women…

esther_attean

Esther Attean

Teacher, Activist, Social Worker, Co-Founder of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission process: b. 1968

“For native people forced assimilation and acculturation distort our thoughts, feelings and actions creating a disconnect with our identity and traditions. We start to believe that there is something wrong with us. The truth is our resilience, strength, humor and intelligence have saved us from extinction, will enable us to heal from generational trauma and will restore our culture so we may thrive as the distinct, unique, beautiful people the Creator meant for us to be.”

 

denisealtvaterportraitbyrobertshetterlylowres

Denise Altvater

Activist, Community Organizer, Co-Founder of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission process : b. 1959

“Having a place where my voice can be heard has changed my life dramatically, helping me to heal and giving me the strength to forgive. I still struggle to find a place in this world where I feel I belong. I believe I will find that place of belonging when I let people see who I really am, not only the truth of what has been done to me but what I have done to others. By acknowledging and sharing my truth, taking responsibility and seeking forgiveness, I can show my beautiful children, my family and my people that we can restore our hearts, minds and souls.”

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Esther Attean and Denise Altvater’s portraits were painted by Robert Shetterly as part of the Americans Who Tell the Truth project and unveiled at the Maine State House today.

For more information on the groundbreaking, invaluable work these women are doing with the Maine-Wabanki TRC:

http://mainewabanakireach.org

http://www.mainewabanakitrc.org/#&panel1-1

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there is a war, leonard cohen

there is a war between the rich and poor 

 

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ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW RED TREES, Martín Espada

When I heard Martín Espada read his voice was a powerful baritone.  Espada is a scholar for the people who knows that poetry like bread is for everyone, and when in doubt, quote Whitman, “I contain multitudes.”

ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW RED TREES
 
When I see the red maple,
I think of a shoemaker
and a fish peddler
red as the leaves,
electrocuted by the state
of Massachusetts.
 
When I see the red maple,
I think of flamboyán’s red flower,
two poets like flamboyán
chained at the wrist
for visions of San Juan Bay
without Navy gunboats.
 
When I see the flamboyán,
I think of my grandmother
and her name, Catalán for red,
a war in Spain
and nameless laborers
marching with broken rifles.
 
When I see my grandmother
and her name, Catalán for red,
I think of union organizers
in graves without headstones,
feeding the roots
of red trees.
 
When I stand on a mountain,
I can see the red trees of a century,
I think red leaves are the hands
of condemned anarchists, red flowers
the eyes and mouths of poets in chains,
red wreaths in the treetops to remember,
 
I see them raising branches
like broken rifles, all the people
who are now red trees.”
 
-Martín Espada, Imagine the Angels of Bread

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oh, had i a golden thread, pete seeger

bind up this sorry world with hand and heart and mind

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from Who be kind to, Allen Ginsberg

Be kind to yourself, because the bliss of your own
    kindness will flood the police tomorrow,
because the cow weeps in the field and the
   mouse weeps in the cat hole—
Be kind to this place, which is your present
   habitation, with derrick and radar tower
   and flower in the ancient brook—
 
 
   – from “Who Be Kind To” by Allen Ginsberg, Planet News
 

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Mi’kmaq Willi Nolan defends the earth, women, humanity & seeks to ban fracking

In these videos Willi Nolan speaks eloquently about why it’s abhorrent that oil and gas companies are trying to force their way into Wabanaki territories in New Brunswick.  Fracking poisons the water and pollutes the sky and earth in the name of shortsighted greed.  Nolan beautifully defends the earth, women and humanity and talks about injustice and oppression towards the land and first nations people that activists are working tirelessly to challenge.  The truth is the light, righteousness is victory, “the forest and the water will be protected…no more poisons.”

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small farm wisdom

“…Hawks kill a hundred times more rats and mice than they do chickens.  The same is true for coyotes.  They help control the squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks and raccoons too.  I guess out west in sheep country they probably do kill a few lambs every year, but that’s part of the price you’ve got to pay.  I don’t know where people get the notion that they can reap the benefits of the land for free.  That it all belongs to them.  Humans sure as shooting don’t work for free.  You get someone to rid your house of rats and termites or cockroaches, he doesn’t do it for nothing, so why do folks think the hawks, eagles and coyotes will.  The few chickens or an occasional lamb they take is their share.  And they earn it more honestly than a lot of humans do.  Every year the birds and worms take their share of the apples, peaches and dewberries.  You plant corn in the garden and the crows and the coons are going to get their part of the harvest, in fact raccoons know better than you when it’s ready.  There’s no getting around it.  You’ve got to pay, and when you think you can get away with not, you’re in trouble.”  -from Harvesting Ballads by Philip Kimball

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